For years, Yvonne Downing’s tennis friends complained that she was
faking an annoying clearing of her throat for her advantage.
But, it wasn’t just a bad habit. It was an indicator of sinusitis,
an inflammation of the cavities in the bones that surround the nose. The
drip was just one of the symptoms that caused the Hammond resident discomfort.
She also suffered from facial pain, toothaches, headaches and unbearable
pressure in her head.
“Sometimes I felt like my head was too heavy for my neck,”
Yvonne adds. “My face was sensitive to touch and I had that drip
in the back of my throat. It even caused me to avoid flying because I
couldn’t stand the pressure.”
Sinusitis is more common than heart disease and asthma and has a greater
impact on quality of life than chronic back pain or congestive heart failure,
according to researchers at Harvard Medical School. Comparing the impact
of chronic sinusitis with that of other illnesses, they found that sinusitis
sufferers reported the highest levels of pain and the lowest levels of
social functioning, as well as significant problems with work, energy
and mental health. Like many of the 35 million people who suffer from
sinusitis each year, Yvonne tried different over-the-counter antihistamines,
decongestants and oral steroids to ease her pain.
“I was regularly taking them (the drugs) and they weren’t doing
that much good. I reached the point where I was seeing the doctor four
or five times a year,” Yvonne recalls.
As a treatment for the chronic condition, otolaryngologist Dr. Jeffrey
LaCour of North Oaks ENT & Allergy suggested Balloon Sinuplasty™,
a nontraditional surgery that provides long-term relief by opening blocked
sinus passageways with a tiny balloon. He performed the technique on Yvonne
in December 2017.
“Yvonne was a good candidate for Balloon Sinuplasty,™”
Dr. LaCour explains. “She didn’t respond well to medications
and she didn’t want to be hospitalized. This procedure is safe,
effective and has a quick recovery.”
Unlike other surgical sinus procedures, Balloon Sinuplasty™ is designed
to be minimally invasive and can usually be conducted in the doctor’s
office. Most of the time, patients can return to their normal activities
within a day or two.
Results may vary, but a clinical study of 1,036 patients reported that
sinus symptoms improved in 95 percent of patients at an average follow-up
period of nine months. In another study, patients reported symptom improvement
up to two years after having the procedure.
Fortunately, Yvonne is one of the 95 percent who has had successful results.
The relentless clearing of the throat noise has disappeared and her tennis
opponents can no longer claim it as an excuse for their losses on the court.
“Dr. LaCour made it all so easy. I listened to music during the procedure,
had very little bleeding and didn’t even need medication afterward.
I would recommend it (Balloon Sinuplasty™) to anybody who is suffering
from years of sinusitis,” she suggests.
“Life is much less complicated. I have no sinus pressure. I’m
a quiet sleeper. Flying is fun again. I’ve stopped clearing my throat,
and I am a lot less irritating to my friends.”